Increased Risk Factors for Developing Autoimmune Disease
Posted on August 4, 2018
Are you living with an autoimmune disease? You’re not alone. Nearly 24 million Americans are living with one or more autoimmune conditions, according to statistics from the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. The AARDA reports that even more people may have an autoimmune condition and don’t know it or remain undiagnosed because the symptoms of many autoimmune diseases are similar to other health conditions. Understanding the risks of developing an autoimmune disorder may lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.
What Are the Risk Factors for Developing an Autoimmune Disease?
Your Family History. As with most things that happen to our bodies, genetics play a significant role in our health. Research has shown that some autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, diabetes and multiple sclerosis, can run in families. There is also evidence that if a close family member has an autoimmune disease, you may end up with an entirely different autoimmune condition.
You Are a Woman. Women have a three times higher risk of developing an autoimmune disease than men. Women are also more likely to develop certain autoimmune diseases such as lupus (nine times more likely than men) and rheumatoid arthritis (twice as likely as men). The reason? Researchers are not exactly sure, but some believe that hormonal fluctuations experienced by women during pregnancy and menopause contribute to developing some autoimmune conditions.
You Already Have an Autoimmune Disease. Are you already living with an autoimmune disease? If so, you have a 25 percent greater chance of developing another autoimmune condition.
Your Spouse or Partner Has Celiac Disease. A 2015 study found that individuals married to or in a relationship with someone who has celiac disease, a condition that causes intolerance to gluten, have a higher risk of developing an autoimmune disease.
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